In the migration of wastewater treatment plants to resource recovery facilities, Camden County in New Jersey has recently taken a leading role.
The area’s largest sewage utility, the Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority (CCMUA), launched a project last week that would “swap” 1 MGD of effluent from the Camden wastewater treatment plant for energy produced by a local power plant that primarily runs on fuel.
“The agreement between the CCMUA and Covanta Camden Energy Recovery Center will create what officials are calling a ‘sustainability loop’ that will provide the sewage authority with electricity from the power plant in exchange for treated wastewater that will be used to cool the generation plant,” reported The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The agreement will help the wastewater plant operate independently of the regional power grid.”
The energy plant currently buys freshwater from the city of Camden, which is drawn from an aquifer. By receiving treated wastewater, the plant foregoes these costs and helps CCMUA utilize some of the wastewater that it currently just discharges.
Following energy efficiency improvements and the installation of a solar system, this project begins the final phase of efforts to reduce energy costs at CCMUA. A 3.5-megawatt power generator, to be fueled by methane taken from sewage, is scheduled to go online in 2019.
“When we’re finished, we’ll get all our power from the sun, trash, and biosolids,” Andy Kricun, CCMUA’s executive director, said, per the Inquirer.
Kricun said that the energy produced by Covanta is more valuable than the treated wastewater from CCMUA and that details on the swap deal are still pending. A feasibility study is set to be completed next year and then lines connecting the two plants will be installed.
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Top Image credit: "New York Shipbuilding Corp, Camden, New Jersey," Aad Born, sometime in 1945, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/